Forerunners Connect with Startups at ReCoTech – Interview with Anssi Salonen

ReCoTech is a SLUSH side event that will bring together real estate and construction forerunners and startups on November 30. I had the pleasure of meeting with Anssi Salonen, Project Manager at RAKLI, and learning more about the event.

anssi salonen rakliRAKLI is the Finnish Association of Building Owners and Construction Clients. Its members are the most prominent professionals in their field, and they want to advance the industry’s future success. ReCoTech is a novel way to do that.

The idea of arranging a side event during SLUSH in Helsinki came from a collaboration between three organizations: RAKLI, FiGBC, and Newsec. The last-mentioned is a full-service property house with offices in eight countries, including Finland. Tomi Ventovuori, Vice President and Partner at Newsec, is the other mind behind the event.

“I’m tired of hearing that the real estate and construction industries are incapable of renewal,” says Anssi. “That same mantra is repeated over and over again in every presentation on innovation in the industry. I don’t think that it’s true.”

For example, real estate and construction forerunners have supported and become involved in hackathons, 14 of which have been held in Finland alone. Globally, property tech receives almost 2B dollars in investments annually. Anssi mentioned several Finnish investors and financiers who are investing in real estate and construction technology (ReCoTech).

Perhaps the problem is not that ReCoTech practitioners are uninterested in innovation and development. Maybe startups have not yet discovered the full potential of the eight-trillion-dollar construction industry. “We want to show the startups coming to SLUSH that ReCoTech companies have needs and wants that these startups can cater to,” says Anssi.

During ReCoTech, companies can claim their own stand at the meetup and present their needs. The organizers will provide a calendar for setting up meetings with startups. A match between a need and an offering can turn into funding or a customer relationship.

“We know several companies that are actively looking for great startups. Our goal is to accelerate the process through ‘speed dating,’” Anssi says. “Technologies that interest companies right now include blockchain, nano, virtual and augmented reality, and artificial intelligence.”

Already, 25 companies have signed up to the event. When I asked Anssi who else he’d like to see at the event, he mentioned two groups: public sector clients and real estate investors. He believes both groups would benefit greatly from collaborating with startups.

Companies that are not currently searching for startups can come to the event to learn about the possibilities and to network. There will be presentations and case studies. Stefan Engeseth, author of Sharkonomics (whom I interviewed earlier on my podcast), will give a keynote presentation. All the attendees will receive a 25% discount on SLUSH tickets, and an evening party will take place at Mothership of Work.

“I believe that ReCoTech will be an awesome opportunity for companies that want to get a competitive advantage through working with startups and that want to internationalize their business,” Anssi concludes.

To learn more about the event and to sign up, visit recotech.fi.